Opera Browser Transitioning To WebKit
Today Opera Software announced that they reached a new milestone with over 300 million monthly users of the Opera browser. This includes everything from their PC version to TVs, smartphones and tablets. But perhaps more significant is the news that they will now switch to WebKit for upcoming versions of the Opera browser, along with the Chromium code base which makes the Google Chrome browser and is provided as open source for others to use.
Currently, the browser industry is mostly composed of four big players including WebKit (Chrome and Safari), Gecko (Firefox) and Trident (Internet Explorer). Opera was the fourth big player, but they are by far the smallest of the bunch. The Opera browser introduced a lot of innovative features, but the user share they have never grew by as much as the other three players did. As a result, some said that it would be better if Opera Software were to use one of the open solutions and instead focus on making their own brand of it.
With today's announcement, it seems like this is exactly what the browser maker is intending to do. WebKit is the most popular browser engine in the world right now. It is the underlying code that renders each web page in the browser, and is used not only by Google Chrome and Apple Safari, but many other smaller browsers as well. This means that Opera will have access to all of this open code base that is coming from these other vendors, and will allow them more time to spend in research and development.